Weekend Ramblings and PF Blog Love: New Guy Edition

As my first time doing the rambling here at Y & T, I’m just trying to fill the shoes of a professional rambler and hopefully not tripping up too badly! Before we get to the meat and potatoes of the round up and throw out some link love to people that thoroughly deserve it, I thought I’d dedicate a little time to this whole Quebec student fiasco that has been dominating the Canadian news waves recently. Now I realize that this is a somewhat controversial topic, but I figure if we’re going to ramble, we might as well do so in as destructive a way as possible!

For those of you that aren’t familiar with everything, I wrote a more complete summary of the situation here. The most recent developments have seen Quebec’s Minster of Education resign, and the Premier move to enact tougher laws to put into play specifically against the violent student protestors. One interesting fact I saw reported was that the province may now actually lose as much to police costs as they will save by having the students pay a little more of their tuition.

As a graduate student myself, I really can sympathize with the average North American student. Students in the USA that pay over 20K a year to go to school have it rough, and there is little doubt that at that cost, you are limiting participation in higher education to an unfair degree. That being said – shame on you striking students. There is a huge difference between the vast majority of North American students, and the average Quebec student’s experience. With tuition rates around $2500, I know $4K might look large to you, but really, it isn’t that big a deal guys. Go take a summer job in an undesirable location, and you can easily make that in two weeks. The slight increase will not make education suddenly unattainable, so quit trying to blow that horn. Our generation has enough to worry about and poor energy into without crippling ourselves with this sort of public debauchery.

I could probably overlook the fact I disagree on logical grounds with the students if they were willing to exercise their democratic rights in a respectful law-abiding way. Smoke bombs on public transportation, harassing students just trying to get the education that they paid for, blocking people from going to work, and doing all of these things while hiding your identity is simply criminal. Nothing else needs to be said except to state the barest of facts that these actions are criminal and the perpetrators need to be held accountable as any other criminal would be. At the very least, all of the people that are caught doing illegal activities should have permanent marks on their transcripts and have their right to a publically subsidized education taken away. The blatant disregard for society at large these students have shown is appalling. There are so many more worthy causes to fight for ladies and gents, please put your tremendous will and drive into something productive and not destructive!

*TM gets off his soapbox*

Here is our best stab and doing something productive! On with the link parade:

PF Blog Love

  1. Canadian Finance presents life before credit cards
  2. PT money shows us the costs of hybrid cars
  3. Bible Money Matters asks “can you afford your lifestyle?
  4. Million Dollar Journey shows us the top 5 smartphone apps that can save you money
  5. Rob Carrick states that boomers have a stake in gen Y’s success
  6. The Canadian Couch Potato shares why he has no faith in market timing
  7. Boomer shows us how to pay off the mortgage faster
  8. Financial Highway shows us 6 ways to enjoy your vacation without spending too much money
  9. My University Money asks if the banks are in it for you?
  10. Free From Broke asks if you should charge boomerang kids rent?
Carnival Love


15 Responses to Weekend Ramblings and PF Blog Love: New Guy Edition

    • Any ideas Glen? I agree, just not sure how to package it. I wrote an article a while back about regulating how universities spend their money since they are basically government institutions anyway. Complicated system to try to revamp though.

  1. I haven’t been following the Quebec thing very closely but I do agree that they have it pretty good. I think it’s the case of students and young people being “youth”.

    People see it as something they can stand up for and they feel passionate about it- but don’t have to get violent about it unfortunately!

    • I disagree passionately with their argument on logical grounds, but the violence is what makes me physically angry. They are criminals at that point and nothing less.

  2. It is sad the the protests have to be so destructive, the democratic process ought to enable people to state their grivences without destroying the city.

  3. Although I do enjoy reading your blog sometimes, I think you are overreacting. I know $4K is not a big amount given I pay alot more in Ontario, but you have to understand that Quebec students were promised free universities and colleges couple of decades back.

    About violence, I say so what. In Ontario, students protested peacefully few years ago when they were increasing tution, and nothing came out of it. I think tuition fee increase was capped at 4-5% (alot more than inflation) and no politician listened to students. Although violence is bad in the short term, it will set an example for other provinces to think twice before they pass huge tuition increases in the future. The politicians are there to serve people, not the other way around. Sometimes they need a reminder and this is one of those reminders.

    • Ray, they were not promised free universities, the wording of the particular agreement you are referring to is grey to say the least.

      As for the sentence, “About violence, I say so what.” I don’t even know where to begin. This is a ridiculous precedent to set. Using the same rationale the police could shoot the protesters and then say they are “setting an example for students in other provinces to think twice before breaking the law.” These men and women are criminals and should be held responsible for their terrorist actions (ie. smoke bombs on a train) not celebrated or debated with any civility. If students don’t like tuition increases, they should try to vote in a government that has their priorities in high regard. This is a little thing we like to call the democratic process!

      • Teacher Man, With all the due respect, you must be delusional to label these acts of protestors as terrorism. The violence has been minimal and only limited to very few individuals.

        And when it comes to breaking a law, it is very easy given Quebec Government is introducing new laws every day (Bill 78). Google it :). Now you can call it a law, but it is in direct violation of Charter of Rights – Not just my opinion – here is what most professional have to say.
        The Canadian Association of University Teachers has condemned the law for “violating fundamental freedoms of association, assembly, and expression,” and called by its president “a terrible act of mass repression.”

        The Quebec Human Rights Commission has also condemned the legislation.

        Louis Masson, head of the Bar of Quebec has questioned the law’s constitutionality, though the Canadian Press has stated that some members are upset with this position. A Laval law professor stated, “Read it. Stunned. Can’t believe that a democratic government can adopt such a law.” Professor Lucie Lemonde of Université de Montréal’s law department stated the law was the second worst on record next to the War Measures Act.
        And using this law, more than 1000 people have been arrested. The wording of tuition agreement may have been grey, but wording of this bill is dark to say the least. Canada promotes Human Rights in other third world countries, and I wonder how come Human Rights in this country are going down the drain.

        And picking a different government is not a solution – it’s a choice between bad, worse and worst. After all, government is a public servant, which is there to serve the public. And this whole thing I blame it on the government – it’s ok to increase the tuition fee but listen to the stakeholders (students) who are impacted the most. Initially Quebec government didn’t want to negotiate anything with students, so yes government asked for the trouble – Public Relations at its worst.

        So what students are doing is a democratic process, given Quebec Government is literally confiscating those democratic freedoms away from student bodies, professors and education unions through Bill 78.

        Last time I checked this was a personal financial blog, so I am not sure why you are taking such a strong position on a political front. Although I am only being a devil advocate to your argument, politics is much more complex than “spend less than you make” idea. I love your site but this article was a just a personal rant with limited research.

        Going forward, it would be better to take neutral position to an political issue and have commenters argue each side. What do you think?

        • Well Ray, when I completely disagree with you on every point I still hope you like our blog!

          1) While this is a personal finance blog, I find that there are many financial angles within this tuition debate. First and foremost, the whole assertion by Quebec students that a tuition that is equivalent to something from 60’s when adjusted for inflation will somehow filter people out of the education is ridiculous. If you can’t earn and save $4k during a summer, you’re doing something very wrong from a personal finance perspective. In the larger picture this blog is about becoming financially independent and losing the idea that you need to depend on someone else to take care of you. Whether that is the government, parents, or a corporate pay check.

          2) I have never claimed to be without political bias, and while I try to approach things from a neutral perspective, violence naturally inflames passions and opinions.

          3) When you break the law, you should be arrested. Your right to protest ends when it infringes on my rights. It is this black and white. I feel no sympathy for these people. While the new law maybe a little extreme, it’s very simple how to avoid the consequences – don’t put on masks and infringe on the rights of innocent Canadians.

          4) Would you disagree that a person that puts on a mask, and uses violence to terrorize people is a terrorist? Again, it is this black and white. While it is obviously a minority of protesters taking things to this level, many student groups failed to condemn them, and even spoke public words of encouragement.

          5) The government has bent over backwards to try and negotiate with students! They have offered to spread out the increase over 7 years as opposed to 5, and they have put together a very attractive aid package for low income families. It is the students that agreed to negotiations, only to back out!

          6) What students are doing is not democratic process. The part where they protest and elect leaders is democracy. The part where they intimidate other students into leaving their class and throw smoke grenades into trains is not!

          7) Rational minds can disagree. I know that there is an argument for free tuition. It’s not a very good one, and it’s one I’m happy to debate at any point, but a rational person could believe that. There is no argument to be made in defence of the farce that this “protest” has become.

          Check this out for a perspective on your vaunted Montreal professor: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/05/23/andrew-coyne-quebec-students-thrilling-attempt-to-cripple-democracy/

  4. I hadn’t heard about this. Sounds like these students would go ballistic if they had to pay US tuition prices.

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